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Clearly, I'm a big jerk.

Today a parent yelled at me. First time since my first year of teaching.

My crime?

I told her daughter that when she's absent, she needs to stay after school to find out what she missed so she can make up the work.

Boy, I am an ASSHOLE. Trying to get a kid to do the work so she can pass? Wow, I suck SO HARD.

This kid missed the first three days of a writing project. She has no idea what's going on. She hasn't even asked in class for help - she just sits. When I tell her she needs to find out what she missed, she complains that she doesn't knooooooow what she missed, and continues to sit.

So today I had her call her mom to tell mom that she needs to find a way to find out what she missed. I can't catch her up on three days of work in a few minutes in class. It's not possible.


Mom yelled at me that they don't have a car right now and that it's my responsibility to get her child the makeup work. That I need to find a way to make it happen. That her daughter can't stay after school and I better let her come in at lunch or before school. I said that I have lunch duty and that her daughter is welcome to come in before school, but she's never asked to do that either. And then Mom said that of course her daughter couldn't come in before school and I wasn't doing enough to help the kid succeed.

I kind of thought that encouraging the girl to find out what she'd missed and letting mom know that she hadn't done that WAS helping her daughter succeed.

(Photo credit to
blue_j)

7 comments:

OKP said...

I feel for you!

That's the kind of conversation I sometimes feel in the mood for: "Ma'am, why don't you tell me what it is EXACTLY, that I should do..."

...and then explain that this is a school, not a factory farm. Her daughter is a human being, and as a human being, I have to respect that she is capable of pursuing her own learning. If she's not, then she really shouldn't be at school.

Oh, the feisty days..,where did they go?

Joan said...

I understand. I have had nearly the same conversation. I told the mom that was yelling at me, what can you do to help your daughter get caught up because I have tried it all. She basically told me it wasn't her job, it was mine.

teachin' said...

Thanks, guys - it's nice to know I'm not the only one. I do wonder how these people expect their kids to survive in life, but perhaps they don't think about that?

Most of my parents are fabulous and supportive and understanding; this was just a particularly bad experience.

mollymaureen said...

I have had soo many similar conversations.
"Why did you give my kid a 30% in your class?"
"I didn't. She earned a 30%."
"You need to do something. She can't play soccer with a 30%."
"She needs to hand in homework or stay after school."
"Why can't you just give her something that will boost her grade? Why won't you help her?"

.....grrrrrrr

teachin' said...

Yeah, I love those conversations. I am always very careful to explain to kids (and parents) that I don't give grades EVER. They earn 'em. A critical distinction.

HappyChyck said...

There's always that one parent who can just push the buttons. I have one especially difficult one each year.

The one from last year would spend 3 paragraphs of an e-mail blowing smoke up my behind before he got to the real point of his e-mail, and that was to reprimand me for something that he son didn't do. I think his format might have been a cultural thing, but all of us teachers found it condescending and irritating.

Our replies were probably unsatisfying in our terse 3 sentence replies. "Your son did not do his assignment. We cannot assess work not turned in. His grade report is accurate."

BTW, the fact you will stay after school to help catch up the student should be considered commendable, although in our field it is what is expected. My contracted day ends 15 minutes after the bell and I have obligations to my own children after school--you know, like making sure they stay caught up on their school work. When I put it like that, people usually back off.

teachin' said...

HappyChyck - I like that phrasing, though I don't have my own kids....maybe I could argue I have "family responsibilities" in general.

The student did stay after on Friday (she arranged with Grandma to pick her up - honestly, I think she might have kept it entirely secret from her mom), and that definitely helped, so I think we'll be good now. However, I'm never calling that mom again if I can help it, which is a shame, because in the end, the kid is the one who might suffer. Hopefully it just won't become an issue. :/

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
 
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